Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I am a big, fat liar.

Note to self:  Possibly change post title to, “I sometimes fear for my sanity.”  Think about it.

So, I decided I wanted to knit a scarf, and I decided I wanted to use some of my handspun.  I picked out what was probably the most colourful one, my Grafton singles.

IMG_3066aNot the best picture, but it’s a felted single that graduates from blue through a yellowish to red.  You can read the details about the yarn here, but I’ll save you the trouble, because really the only pertinent detail is that I said it was 175 yards and about 10 wpi, or worsted weight.  That’s also what I filled in on the Ravelry page for the yarn, which is what I use to keep of myself.

Side note:  I read somewhere on Ravelry that when you make felted singles, you should carefully rewind the hank after washing and while it’s still barely damp-ish.  I read that well after I spun the yarn, so of course I didn’t do it.  It took a full two hours just to wind the yarn into a ball because it was stuck to itself.  If I ever do it again, I will rewind.  I was pleased, though, in that it held together quite nicely all through that process.  Yippee for felting!

Back to the scarf:  The other thing I noticed while rewinding is that the yarn was, well, kind of, umm, thin.  Like, quite thin.  As in, really thin.  Yes, there were some places where it was likely worsted weight, but for the majority, maybe fingering, possibly lace.  Yeah, that thin.  See the first line of this post?  Yeah. 

The thinness made me kind of revise my scarf plans.  I didn’t really want a wispy scarflette.  I do live in Canada, and we do have winter.  I decided to stripe it with another yarn to give the scarf more substance.  The Noro Striped scarf would be wonderful, non-concentration knitting, which was just what I needed after my father’s recent death, as my concentration really wasn’t up to much more than that.  After a bit of stash diving, I found a skein of Patons Classic Merino in Oatmeal,  Perfect!  Right? 

IMG_8168aMaybe not.  I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but the Patons skein is just about collapsed, so there’s not much left.  The handspun, on the other hand?  Tons left.  The yellow is just barely starting to peak through, and that would be about one-third of the way through.  So the Patons skein of 220 odd yards is just about gone, and the handspun, not even a third.  But I had measured 175 yards.  Apparently not only did I mis-measure the weight of the yarn, I mis-measured the length of it.  See the first line of this post?  Yeah.

Another problem is that the difference in the yarn weight was just too much.  The handspun stripes of colour were thin and drapey, and the worsted weight oatmeal was kind of puckery and tight.  Not the best matching of yarns.

The other problem, that you can’t really tell from the photo, is that the knitting is three feet long.  If I carried on, the finished scarf would be about, what, 10 feet long?  Who knows?  Not me, because at this point I have no idea how much yarn I have. 

So what did I do?  I ripped out three feet of 1x1 two-colour ribbing, with one yarn being a single.  See the first line of this post?  Yeah.  Not fun.

Time to go stash diving again.

IMG_8253aThis was given to me by a friend, and it was given to him by his sister.  I believe she just stopped knitting for some reason, and he wouldn’t touch anything remotely woolly, so it came to me.  The yarn is a DK weight alpaca blend.  I know the yarn store it came from, and it’s been out of business for several years.  Even in it’s heyday, though, it was kind of known for having, ummm, vintage yarn. I wasn't surprised that Ravelry has never heard of Marika Country.

Starting over, I decided that I would double up the use of the handspun by knitting one stripe with both the alpaca and one with just the handspun.  I added about a third more stitches and went down a few needles sizes.

IMG_8248aYuck, and also uggh.  So, what did I do?  I ripped it out, again.  See the first line of this post?  Yeah.

Back to Plan A, with the larger number of stitches and smaller needles.  I decided to just knit until the handspun ran out, because that's the kind of mood I was in.  Three and a half 115-yard balls of Marika later, it was done.

IMG_8285aWhat did I learn?  Well, one, to measure my yarns more carefully  Maybe even two or three times.  It’s really hard to plan a project when you don’t know what you have.  Two, those people who say you don’t need to swatch for a scarf are wrong.  It would have helped in the planning process, and I don’t think I would have dug myself in so deep if I knew it was going to end up at eight feet long.  I’m short, and if I wear it looped like I would normally, it will hang down to my knees.  Folded in half and just draped around my neck, though, it will be fine, but the colour progression isn’t as obvious. Three, my neck is going to be nice and warm this winter. :-)

IMG_8314a And also:

IMG_8304aYsolda’s long tail tubular cast-on is easy and a Thing of Beauty.  

Tech Knitting’s Easy Fake tubular bind off?

IMG_8307aAlso easy, but not quite so beautiful.  I should have just Kitchenered.  And no, I am not ripping it out and doing it over, and yes, after eight feet of it, I am very much over 1x1 rib for a while.

The wheel has also been busy.

IMG_7885aThis superwash BFL from a CJ Kopec spin-a-long is now …

IMG_8196a… some three-ply sock yarn, and it *might* be 368 yards, 16 wpi.   

25 people had something to say:

Yarndude said...

Jeeze, that doesn't sound like a fun sequence of events, but the finished product looks fantastic!

Alyson said...

Oh man, GORGEOUS scarf. Good God, eight feet of 1x1. You should win something.

Micki said...

The scarf is fantastic, and I hope you can wear it without remembering all the turmoil and heartache it caused you. Lovely sock yarn, too.

Jean said...

Determination - that's what you have. The scarf turned out nicely and I do like the color variation. The new sock yarn is so appealing.

Zonda said...

That is a fabulous scarf! Whew though, on what you had to go through to get it. Glad you perservered! :) Pretty handspun too!

fleegle said...

Well, I am sorry that I had a good laugh at your expense. I've done the same thing...winged it and did a nose dive into the ground. However, the final scarf is handsome and will keep you warm, which is the entire point of knitting a wool scarf.

As a side note, I am so sorry about your father. I knit the entire edging of the Black Widow shawl in the three days after he died. I didn't want to think at all--needed something mind-numbing. I can almost not bear to take the shawl out of the drawer, though.

And your spinning is,as always, gorgeous stuff.

trek said...

It may have been painful, but it looks like the finished product will definitely stand up to a Canadian winter!

SJ said...

What an ordeal to get a scarf! I very much like the finished project, though I'll leave you to judge whether it was worth it.

Your sock yarn is beautiful!

KnitNana said...

I have decided that the 1x1 rib is not a thing of beauty unless, perhaps, you are Jared.
However, I am impressed with your fortitude. Now I have to go rip out my own scarf.

LaurieM said...

Actually, it kinda makes sense that if your yarn is more like a laceweight that you'd also have more yardage. The scarf is pretty and I hope it keeps you nice and warm.

I'm sorry to hear you lost your father.

knottygnome said...

i have that same problem with singles. whenever i try to spin fat squishy low-twist singles, i usually end up with much-thinner-than-i'd-anticipated-more-yardage-than-i-thought singles.

Kathy... said...

Beautiful scarf, worth all the pain (I hope!). Your handpspun is equally gorgeous too.

I find it interesting that my "2 yard" niddy noddy actually measures only 63 inches around.

I am working on my first "real" 3-ply. I have done some N-plying, but never a 3-ply. Hoping for success, but will not be as perfect as yours, I am sure.

Monika said...

Ha, long scarf, long story! It looks quite nice. The yarn too! :o)
Sorry to hear about your father.

lexa said...

Well, it took you awhile and a bit of trial and error, but the finished scarf looks great! The sock yarn looks great. :)

turtlegirl76 said...

So sorry to hear about your Dad. ((hugs))

Pat K said...

Eight feet of ribbing would be enough for anyone, me thinks. So sorry to hear about your loss.

knitwick said...

Well, I think that all the frustration was worth it. The scarf is impressive; the colors are wonderful.

I also really love the colors of your new handspun. Beautiful!!

pat said...

I LOVED this post - It really shows what we knitters go through - all the decision making (which half the time goes right out the window)and starting over.
I'm in love with your yarn - both the singles and the 3 ply - Do I dare hope that I will be able to make yarn like that someday?

Carrie K said...

So lots of process and an eventual product! And lots of lessons learned. What could be better? I know. Knitting it perfectly right off the bat. Oh well. Next time.

I'm sorry to hear about your father.

Marjorie said...

That is a beautiful scarf.

Cookie said...

It's beautiful and I hope worth the work.

Now you know why I always say more or less when talking about yardage. One just never knows.


Anonymous said...

I think all your work and your decisions were worth it. The scarf looks fantastic!

Alwen said...

The process might have had repeated false starts, but the end product looks great! Just think Tom Barber's Dr. Who when you wear it.

Bridget said...

Well, in the end you at least got a beautiful scarf! You definitely have more fortitude than I do ...

I'm sorry to hear that your father passed away, I missed that somewhere along the way. You are in my thoughts.

randi K design said...

What a story! 1x1 ribbing is booooring, even 5-10 cm of it.
Good job, and I love how the color change, very nice!